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Mastercard Announces Cybersecurity Winners and 6 New Start Path Participants

Cybersecurity | May 13, 2024

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Congratulations to Mastercard UNB Cybersecurity Scholarship Winners

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) has proudly announced the winners of the Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship, Vaishnavi Shanmugam and Erika Thea Ajes. This prestigious award grants each recipient $25,000 to support their studies in UNB's Master of Applied Cybersecurity and the Research-Intensive Cyber Knowledge Studies programs, emphasizing the importance of advancing cybersecurity education and research.

See:  The State of Cybersecurity in The Fintech Industry

The Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship is an investment in the future of digital security. Both recipients are involved in forward-thinking cybersecurity projects at UNB, with Shanmugam focusing on network security enhanced by machine learning, and Thea Ajes specializing in developing robust software against cyber threats. Their work is expected to contribute significantly to the evolving landscape of fintech security, offering fresh insights into protecting digital assets and infrastructures.

Vaishnavi Shanmugam:

"Being a mom to a one-year-old daughter while navigating my studies is a challenging journey. UNB, CIC and Mastercard have recognized my hard work and awarded me this scholarship. This support extends beyond financial assistance; it has significantly reduced the burden of my education loan and given me the time to focus more on my studies.”

Erika Thea Ajes:

“I was amazed when I got the news, especially since it was my first time applying for a scholarship. The news lifted a weight off my shoulders and brought immense relief to my family back in the Philippines. I’m looking forward to the RICKS training program with CIC and Mastercard, and I can’t fully express my gratitude and excitement for this opportunity.”

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The Mastercard Cybersecurity Scholarship not only alleviates the financial burden for its recipients but also enriches the fintech ecosystem by nurturing innovators like Shanmugam and Thea Ajes. Congratulations to the scholarship winners, and kudos to Mastercard for their commitment to empowering the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

Mastercard Announces 6 New Startups Participating in Startup Path Program

Mastercard has recently expanded its Start Path program by welcoming six new startups that are innovating in the payments acceptance space. These startups are aiming to transform the way businesses and consumers engage with digital payments, focusing on solutions that include low-cost payment systems for small businesses, non-traditional channel acceptance, and comprehensive business management experiences in payments and beyond.  Throughout the four-month program, these startups will receive mentoring and collaboration opportunities and access to Mastercard's extensive global network.

The six startups joining the Start Path Acceptance program are:

  1. Cardstream (UK) - Specializes in fintech enablement through innovation, offering Payment Gateway and PayFac-as-a-Service platforms.
  2. Gr4vy (U.S.) - Provides cloud-based payments solutions that allow merchants to customize and optimize their payment strategies.
  3. Hoox (U.S.) - Focuses on card optimization platforms for issuers, enhancing customer engagement with personalized, real-time offers.
  4. Nearpay (Saudi Arabia) - Offers solutions for acquirers, payment service providers, and fintechs to integrate and launch Tap on Phone on mobile devices.
  5. OmniRetail (Nigeria) - Supports traditional retailers with a digital infrastructure to ensure access to essential goods and financial resources.
  6. Tazapay (Singapore) - Enhances the cross-border commerce experience with a platform that simplifies international transactions.

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These companies are part of a larger effort by Mastercard to double its global payment acceptance footprint and support the shift towards digital payment solutions that enhance speed, simplicity, and security.   For more details on Mastercard's Start Path program and the new startups, you can visit their official announcement here.


Both initiatives exemplify Mastercard’s commitment to nurturing talent and innovation, promising a forward-looking approach to the challenges and opportunities of the digital financial landscape.

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